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Publisher's Summary

President Lyndon Johnson was bigger than life - and no one who worked for him or was subjected to the "Johnson treatment" ever forgot it. As Johnson's "Deputy President of Domestic Affairs", Joseph A. Califano's unique relationship with the president greatly enriches our understanding of our 36th president. Califano shows listeners LBJ's commitment to economic and social revolution, and his willingness to do whatever it took to achieve his goals. He uncorks LBJ's legislative genius and reveals the political guile it took to pass laws in civil rights, poverty, immigration reform, health, education, environmental protection, consumer protection, the arts, and communications.

A no-holds-barred account of Johnson's presidency, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson is an intimate portrait of a president whose towering ambition for his country and himself reshaped America - and ultimately led to his decision to withdraw from the political arena in which he fought so hard.

©1991 Joseph A. Califano, Jr. Introduction copyright 2015 by Joseph A. Califano, Jr. (P)2015 Tantor

What listeners say about The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson

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    5 out of 5 stars
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LBJ The Greatest President of 20th century

Before reading this I knew lbj as a student worrying about the draft after I understand how much more he was. He will never be just the evil Vietnam president. To say I love this account is an understatement Thanks for the moving history lesson

5 people found this helpful

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Simply an outstanding reflection of LBJ.

This is an astonishing account the time LBJ during his presidency. Very accurate, we'll narrated, and offers first-hand accounts of how history unfolded during Johnson's term in the White House.

2 people found this helpful

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Nice summary of presidential years

I am doing a lengthy study of presidents- a biography on each and made it to Johnson #36. This era is fascinating so I started my Johnson journey with the 4 epic volumes by Robert Caro, only to discover after 100+ hours of audio that the final volume 5 had yet to be completed! Triumph and Tragedy by Robert Califano picked up nicely where Carl’s volume 4 concluded and did a stellar job of detailing the White House years.

1 person found this helpful

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A poor excuse for a biography

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book to a friend or an enemy. I found it a poor excuse for a biography. It was more like a Joe Califano memoir, centered around Johnson. Sorry, but you don't write a biography in the first person, unless you're trying to draw attention to yourself. And while he described both Johnson's strengths and weaknesses, he seemed to make excuses for every shortcoming. It was completely biased and self-centered. To put it in context, I have been listening to audiobook biographies of every President, starting with Washington, over the past two years. This was the WORST. (And the one that follows, Nixonland, is about to tie it, but I'll save that for my next review).

What do you think your next listen will be?

Nixonland, followed by Write It When I'm Dona, a biography of Gerald Ford. Following that, I'm a bit stuck. Really hard to find anything about Jimmy Carter not written by Jimmy Carter.

Did Norman Dietz do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes - the narration was fine.

What else would you have wanted to know about Joseph A. Califano Jr.’s life?

I would love to have known that he was an unabashed Johnson-lover who was simply writing a book to justify the horror perpetrated during their time in the White House.

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powerful book! narrative slurred...

great story well told,,,the narrative could have been much better....in parts it had overtones of a drunken slurr....

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Great story but mediocre reading

Any additional comments?

Califano has a unique insight into one of the less understood but more important presidents of our era. Johnson was a political master and Obama could learn a bit from him. The reading of the book detracted from the material, it just was not very engaging for the listener.

1 person found this helpful